Researchers at the University of Almería, Spain, determined LED lamps specifically designed for horticultural use were more beneficial to plant growth and had 26 percent higher energy efficiency when compared to conventional LED lamps.

Conventional LED lamps are already known to offer better electrical energy efficiency. In horticultural operations, light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are becoming recognized as an important advance in artificial lighting. Among other benefits, LED lighting systems can offer durability, long operating lifetimes, and high energy efficiency.

The study involved cultivation of four types of vegetable plants and compared a conventional white LED tube light with LED lamps with a good spectral fit to the maximum photosynthetic response at two intensities. The researcher team published a study in the March 2016 issue of HortScience that shows that continuous spectrum LEDs made specifically for horticultural can be superior to conventional white LEDs in terms of plant response and energy efficiency.

The experiments were performed on two types of young lettuce, tomato, and bell pepper plants grown in a controlled environment chamber and subjected to treatments using a conventional white LED tube light or an LED light with a good spectral fit to the maximum photosynthetic response at two intensities. Either four or six lamps/square meter were used to achieve high and low intensities.

The researchers measured the lighting parameters illuminance (lux) and photosynthetic photon flux intensity of each treatment. All plants were evaluated for their dry and fresh weight, leaf area, and growth, and photosynthetic activity and energy efficiency were recorded for each species over 60 days of the cultivation experiment.

According to principal investigator Dr. Miquel Urrestarazu, the results clearly demonstrated that, compared with other conventional LED lamps, the LED lamps specifically designed for horticultural use were more beneficial to the evaluated vegetables and had 26% higher energy efficiency.

In all cases, with the exception of the roots of the lettuce cultivars, analyses revealed significant or highly significant increases in vegetative growth when light intensity was increased.

“The spectrum of the LED lamps caused an important and significant effect on the majority of the growth parameters of the four species: the light treatment with a closer spectral fit to the highest photosynthetic response was more conducive to growth,” the researchers stated.

The authors recommended that a specific, detailed spectral distribution study be conducted to predict the effect of the specific quantity and quality of light used in the study on a single parameter of plant growth.

Folks are not so well informed about greenhouse technology. Nor do we think of food as fuel and energy. Greenhouse technology that comes to mind is the glassed wall and ceiling design seen in backyards and yet, runs to huge units of that basic design and on to totally enclosed designs using various aids such as geothermal heat, completely artificially lighted by electricity that are very highly productive using a minimum of water, free of herbicides and pesticides producing the safest, most attractive foods our money can buy.

The major expenses after the capital cost of the building are the water, the warmth, and light. Your humble writer was astonished to learn about totally enclosed greenhouses in Siberia. As the costs of water and herbicides and pesticides go up expect more safer, better quality foods from lower cost LED lighted greenhouses in your supermarket.


1 Comment so far

  1. Al Fin on May 11, 2016 11:37 AM

    Amazing stuff. Low-power specific spectrum lighting will find many applications from polar agriculture to seafloor habitat agronomy to Martian food raising.

    Expect this food-growing approach to get better and cheaper over time.

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